Phillies: Didi Gregorius ‘always hungry’ for the postseason

Didi Gregorius #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Didi Gregorius #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Didi Gregorius
Didi Gregorius #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Dave Dombrowski is happy he is finally on the same side as Didi Gregorius.

President of Dave Dombrowski was a longtime member of the Boston Red Sox front office before joining the Phillies this offseason. Gregorius gained notoriety in the league during his five seasons with the New York Yankees between 2015-19, so naturally, at least some rivalry came to mind between the two.

Now, the 2018 World Series champion executive says he is happy to be finally on board with him, on the same side, because he “broke his heart many times” wearing a different uniform than his team’s.

“The Phillies are very excited today to have Didi rejoin us. He is one of the best shortstops in the game of baseball and is somebody that just gives a real balance on our club — a guy in the middle of the lineup that hits from the left-hand side and really completes our everyday lineup,” Dombrowski said. “He’s a quality big-league player that has done it for years. He’s a quality player and quality person.”

Dombrowski added that from the first day he joined the organization, he was told there were two main priorities of the offseason — bringing back both J.T. Realmuto and Gregorius, not just for their abilities but for “the type of individuals they are.”

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Didi Gregorius was not worried whether he would land a multi-year contract.

The Phillies and then-new manager Joe Girardi first signed Gregorius to their team in mid-December 2019 for one year and $14 million. His average annual value on his recently signed two-year, $28 million contract mirrors his 2020 salary of the same amount.

Gregorius reportedly received multi-year contract offers last offseason, but he wanted to take a one-year, prove-it deal with the Phillies to show he can still play following Tommy John surgery. He shined in the 2020 season, but even then still seemed to struggle at getting multi-year offers, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the free-agent market.

Gregorius said he was not worried at all, at any point this offseason, about getting such offers. “I just play the game and see what’s going to happen. There are a lot of things that you can’t control, but I control what I can, talk to teams, and see what they have to offer,” he said. “I think that’s one of the things that stood out in talking to Phillies a lot. I know we got things going. … Now, I’m back with the team, so that’s the most important part.”

Dombrowski said that the Phillies “really didn’t mind” giving Gregorius a two-year deal, because they believe he will be a good performer. “He’s at the time of his career where he’s not only a good performer, but age-wise it also seemed to fit in,” Dombrowski said. “We’re just happy to have him on board.”